All Ages

The Best Children’s and YA Books of October 2020

by the Brightly Editors

Background credit: tgart2d/Shutterstock

October’s best new books are all treats and no tricks (though there’s plenty of mischief afoot — we’re looking at you, Underwear Dragon). Poignant and playful, fascinating and festive, these new releases can’t be missed.

  • Attack of the Underwear Dragon

    by Scott Rothman, illustrated by Pete Oswald

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    As a brand new assistant knight to Sir Percival of King Arthur’s Round Table, Cole has a lot to learn. Particularly when it comes to Sir Percival’s greatest (and only) fear: an Underwear Dragon. This delightful new read is goofy in all the best ways.
    (On Sale: 10/6/2020)

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  • I Feel Proud

    by DK

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    Part of the quintessential First Emotions series, the newest board book helps readers identify and celebrate an oh-so-important feeling: pride! In addition to encouraging readers’ confidence, it also teaches them how to make their friends feel proud, too.
    (On Sale: 10/6/2020)

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  • What We'll Build

    by Oliver Jeffers

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    A new Oliver Jeffers book is always cause for celebration, and this sweet father-daughter story is the perfect addition to his heartening oeuvre. With tools in hand, a father and daughter first build a door, followed by a house, and then they embark on building immaterial but necessary ingredients for a good life: love and forgiveness, resilience and hope.
    (On Sale: 10/6/2020)

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  • The Boy and the Gorilla

    by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illustrated by Cindy Derby

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    A poignant picture book that will open up important conversations about grief, Kramer and Derby’s story-in-dialogue follows a young boy who conjures a gentle gorilla to help him talk through his sadness after losing his mother. As the boy asks big questions, he grows comfortable talking about his feelings, first to the gorilla and then to his father.
    (On Sale: 10/13/2020)

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  • I am Anne Frank

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

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    Along with I am Benjamin Franklin, this book is the newest addition to the Ordinary People Change the World series, and introduces young readers to Anne Frank, who will undoubtedly become a familiar face of courage throughout their lives. Age-appropriate narrations of the Holocaust and Anne’s place in it are accompanied by Christopher Eliopoulos’s expressive character portraits.
    (On Sale: 10/13/2020)

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  • Cozy

    by Jan Brett

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    The beloved Jan Brett returns with a seasonal read that’s sure to be a household staple this winter. In the wilds of Alaska, Cozy the musk ox finds himself separated from his herd as a snowstorm bears down. Soon, other animals — lemmings, an arctic fox, a snowshoe hare, and more — realize that beneath Cozy’s soft, thick fur is the place to be, and as their numbers grow, so do Cozy’s house rules.
    (On Sale: 10/20/2020)

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  • My Rainbow

    by DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal, illustrated by Art Twink

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    When Trinity wants to match her outsides with her insides, her family goes to the wig store to find the perfect fit. But when nothing feels quite right, Mom makes Trinity a fabulous rainbow wig of her very own. This affirming story is written by the real-life Trinity and her mother, advocates for transgender rights.
    (On Sale: 10/20/2020)

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  • I Am the Storm

    by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Kristen Howdeshell and Kevin Howdeshell

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    In a time of extreme climate shifts, this beautifully illustrated picture book will help soothe children’s fears about weather emergencies — a tornado, a blizzard, a forest fire, and a hurricane are each featured — by showing families who are informed, prepared, and resilient together.
    (On Sale: 10/27/2020)

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  • YA

  • Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf

    by Hayley Krischer

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    A nuanced and important conversation about rape culture and survival, Hayley Krischer’s debut centers on Ali Greenleaf and Blythe Jensen, who only become friends after Blythe’s BFF, the school’s soccer superstar, assaults Ali at a party. Blythe believes Sean’s interpretation of events and tries to smooth things over by befriending Ali and opening up to her. Both young women are on their own journeys to the truth, healing, and empowerment.
    (On Sale: 10/6/2020)

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  • Everything I Thought I Knew

    by Shannon Takaoka

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    After an unexpected heart transplant at 17, Chloe finds herself drawn to new interests: surfing, for starters. But also to her cute surfing instructor, Kai. Beyond the new interests, though, Chloe’s experiencing a recurring nightmare of dying in a motorcycle accident. As she falls in love with Kai, she also gets to the root of her strange new life.
    (On Sale: 10/13/2020)

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  • The Magic Fish

    by Trung Le Nguyen

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    First-generation Vietnamese American Tiến has a secret. He wishes he could tell his parents, but beyond language barriers, Tiến isn’t sure how they’ll feel about him being gay. As Tiến navigates this new part of his identity and bears the burden of hiding it away, he throws himself into his favorite fairy tales, which strikingly play out over the pages of this graphic novel.
    (On Sale: 10/13/2020)

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